Deposition is an interactive, bejewelled shower. Half way between decorative public fountain and usable facility, it highlights our use of water and the hidden infrastructure that enables it. The existing systems that power environments such as cities, buildings and the Tremough Campus usually go unnoticed. Water distribution is just one of these invisible infrastructures, barely notable even when we turn a tap on to take a drink or wash our hands. Deposition creates a novel point of access to the campus water network, temporarily allowing it to become a point of interest, a discussion point or a fun way to pass the time. The installation also creates an interesting contrast between the decorative and practical, and raises some interesting questions about our relationship to water and the environment, especially in a nation obsessed by the weather and rain particularly.
Alex was partly inspired though to create Deposition by nations where the rain is a more valuable resource and by the following quote from Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, from his 2010 book ‘Living in the End of Times’: “The architecturally correct opposition between authentic function and vulgar display can be illustrated by the contrast between a simple water pump and a gold tap: the one a simple object satisfying a vital need, the other suggesting an excessive display of wealth. However, one should always in such cases be careful to avoid the trap… It is (mostly) poor people who dream about gold taps, while rich people like to imagine the simple functionality of household equipment – providing a simple water pump is how Bill Gates seeks to help poor Africans, while the poor Africans would probably embellish it as soon as possible with “kitsch” ornamentation.” It isn’t just the value of the shower utility that is explored here, but the changing value of the water itself depending on how it is delivered and the social and cultural morés surrounding this. Deposition was installed outside the Peter Lanyon building at Penryn Campus from June 1 – June 30 2013.
Confluence is an exciting new public programme of site-specific art that reflects the diverse range of academic disciplines offered by the University of Exeter and Falmouth University at the Penryn Campus; Cornwall’s flagship university campus. For 2013 Confluence presented a curated programme of installations and interventions across the Penryn Campus that explore relationships between art, technology and the physical environment. Including projects by Thomson & Craighead, Stanza, Alex Murdin, Jamie Allen and Will Scrimshaw, Confluence 2013 took the Penryn Campus as a starting point to explore how art can transform the way we interact with and interpret the environment around us. The projects selected for the Summer Term react to and highlight invisible factors that shape the way in which we experience the space around us. The work selected highlighted a shared line of enquiry between the University of Exeter and Falmouth University who share and jointly manage the Campus: that of analysing, interacting with and affecting the environment. The programme connects with many of the disciplines studied and researched on campus such as geography, music and digital media. Transient and time-based, the work selected created pockets of activity that would pop up around campus throughout the year and encouraged different uses of social and academic spaces. By responding to factors such as time, sound and existing infrastructures, these projects didn’t just introduce new imagery and objects to the campus. Instead they simply brought to our attention that which is always around us, and happening now.
Confluence 2013 was curated by Phil Rushworth, a graduate of Falmouth University’s MA Curatorial Practice.